Ain’t Nothing New Under this Here Sun
Liberals vs. Bigots? Or Pots vs. Kettles?
I see many of you are scared, nervous and alarmed. You want to talk about your lost feeling of security. Your lost feeling of safety. The anguish you feel from seeing the true nature of Americans. Your bleak acceptance of how bigoted this country is.
Well, welcome. Let me pull you up a chair. We’ve been waiting for you to join us. Some of us have been here a while…
This country is not and has never been a safe place for so many people. In fact, some of us don’t know what ‘safety’ feels like. Some of us, many of us, have gotten messages, constantly, that we are not safe here. We don’t belong here. Your life doesn’t matter. Your vote doesn’t matter. Your health doesn’t matter. A clean, environment is not for you. Opportunity is not for you. Justice is not for you.
Some of you feel bad about that and you want to understand. You study. Read think-pieces, write think pieces, share think pieces. Create academic terms to describe the phenomena of dehumanizing someone else very intellectually and academically. You discuss ‘micgro-agressions’ and ‘privilege’ and things that are ‘institutionalized’ and ‘systemic’. You pride yourself on your knowledge of terms and judge people who don’t know the terms you created or learned, like 5 minutes ago. Yet many people who live with the experience of being dehumanized on a daily basis have another phrase for it- ‘The way things are’.
I’m a black, queer, woman, that grew up in the very red state of David Duke’s Louisiana. I now live in the very blue state of California in the liberal safe-haven of the Bay Area.
I’ve been called a nigger, multiple times, to my face in Louisiana.
I’ve been called a nigger, multiple times, to my face in California.
I’ve experienced police harassment and biased justice system in Louisiana.
I’ve experienced police harassment and a biased justice system in California.
I’ve seen economic destruction of black neighborhoods in Louisiana.
I’ve seen the economic destruction of black neighborhoods in California.
I’ve worked in underfunded schools with no resources for students of color in Louisiana.
I’ve served underfunded schools with no resources for students of color in California.
To be fair, I’ve experienced far more homophobia in Louisiana, so yay, California?
However, If the classism that exists in Louisiana and California got in an arm-wrestle, I honestly don’t know who would win.
Shall I go on?
We want to rally against bigotry, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia winning. We saw it, undoubtedly in Republican, Trump supporters. But can we also acknowledge the bigotry, sexism, racism, Islamophobia, transphobia and particularly, classism that was and is present within Democratic, Clinton supporters as well?
Maybe this is not so much a story of good versus evil as some would hope. Maybe it’s a matter of the masks we wear being taken off.
If we are going to paint a picture of two sides, let’s be real about how different those sides really are.
Sure, they are different. But some qualities exist in both sides, though often less detectable.
Trump’s message was a rally cry for rural communities, people with supposedly Christian values and of course, white supremacy. Another rendition of an American dream that had been sold to whites for a long time. It’s just like hot cakes, nothing sells like the American dream. Bring back the good ol’ days, for the good ol ’boys! ‘Minorities’ are supposed to be at the back of the bus. Whites first. It was so in your face. There was no questions, no codes to crack. Masks off.
Hillary’s message was ‘A love for diversity’. Which can easily be ‘A fascination with tokenizing’. It’s a different type of ‘othering’ (treating someone as alien or different from oneself) but othering none-the less. We are ‘stronger together’. We have moved beyond bigotry, and sexism. We are the good-white people. We are well-meaning white people. Sure it’s inspiring and hopeful. But ask history how dangerous well-meaning, good white people have been. Masks on.
Don’t get me twisted. I voted for Hillary, for like 1,000 reasons. The party of ‘small government’ ironically has a lot of opinions about what’s going on with my vagina, what bathrooms we can go to, who we can marry, who has the right to clean water, who has the right to pursue the American dream, what language we can speak, what ethnicities it’s okay to be, and what religion we can be.
I don’t deny the results of this election are distressing, yes. It means we have to be vigilant, but we’ve had to be vigilant.
Did we forget that we were already a country that just a few decades ago had Japanese internment camps? A country that under a democratic, feminist Black President and awe-inspiring First Lady continues to disregard treaties with Native Americans and disrespect their rights as humans for corporate greed? A country that executes innocent Black lives every 28 hours. Where millions lack access to clean air, water, housing, and healthcare/mental health care. When 2016 is the deadliest year on record for trans people. Where families are torn apart from terrorizing deportations, a country where hate crimes towards Muslims surge and the media barely bats an eye. A country where it’s criminalized to be poor, but rapists walk free.
We can’t defeat the bigotry and bias in others without acknowledging our own first. This nation was built on genocide, colonialism, and slavery- and the continual dehumanization of black and brown people.
I’ve been traveling across the USA for months before the election talking to people about their own personal experiences with identity with power, with privilege. As a Black woman, driving across the country, alone, seeing the confederate flag, or a Trump/Pence sign would scare me- but seeing an American flag would too.
More from me: LunaIsAmeica.com